NOAA 99-27
Contact: Barbara Semedo, Scott Smullen

Senate Commerce Committee Fisheries Expert Named NOAA Fisheries Chief

National Marine Fisheries Service director Rolland Schmitten has been appointed deputy assistant secretary for international affairs for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Commerce Secretary William M. Daley announced today.

"Rollie has a long and distinguished career in natural resources management and brings to his new assignment strong credentials and valuable experience in negotiating challenging international fisheries agreements that will stand him well as he determines international environmental issues critical to the United States," said Daley.

"Schmitten's appointment allows NOAA to devote increased international attention on a wide range of environmental stewardship challenges, and to maintain its leadership role in the international community," said D. James Baker, under secretary of commerce and NOAA administrator.

Penelope "Penny" Dalton, senior professional staff on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, will replace Schmitten as NOAA Fisheries director, also known as assistant administrator for fisheries.

"Ms. Dalton has an extensive background in a wide range of environmental, scientific and marine policy issues," said Daley. "Her previous position has provided an outstanding opportunity to acquire a comprehensive understanding of fisheries management and ocean coastal resources issues and to interact extensively with all of our constituents."

"Penny's knowledge of NOAA's programs and Congress will be invaluable as she applies her knowledge nationwide to the management and sustainability of our living marine resources," Baker added.

Ms. Dalton has held positions with the Senate Commerce Committee since 1987. She was a NOAA National Sea Grant Fellow and faculty research assistant at the University of Maryland and has held several other teaching positions in science and biology. Ms. Dalton has a masters degree in marine-estuarine-environmental science from the University of Maryland and a bachelor's degree in biology from Dickinson College.

Prior to his directorship of NOAA Fisheries, Mr. Schmitten was the agency's Northwest regional director, and before that, director of the Washington State Department of Fisheries. He has a bachelor of science degree in forest management from Washington State University.

Mr. Schmitten and Ms. Dalton will assume their new positions on April 12, 1999.